I think many of you make good points.
I think Xero and Steve make great points.
And you're right Steve, there's nothing random about it, maybe we should take that word out of the rule book, because I go out of my to look for five judges that have as little in common with one another as possible. And I do lean toward one particular kind of judge, the judge who was dragged there by a friend, or who walked into the slam by accident. I tend to like the first timer more than I do most poets. The high school science teachers, the accountants, the yardmen, the barbers, etc. I think they make the best judges because people like us, writers, actors, poets and whatnot, maybe we're a little too close to the subject. Was finding these kinds of judges an easy thing to do at Nats this year? No. But as a bout manager for three bouts I think I did a good job of selecting judges. Two of the three bouts were tightly contested between two of the four competing teams and decided in the final round by a slim margin. One of the bouts was tightly contested by three of the four competing teams and decided in the final round by a slim margin. I think every panel of judges that I saw at Nats including the one I witnessed judging the Finals Championship bout did a very good job. I think that says a great deal about our bout managers and Bill and Erik who trained us and our judges at this year's Nationals. Maybe there was a bout this year where the "better team" (whatever that means) got screwed by the judges, but I didn't hear about it, and I didn't see it. Did you TS?
If a judge has the capacity to feel, if they have a gut and aren't afraid to follow it then they are qualified.
If you think five people in a bar who may or may not know anything about poetry, who may be slightly drunk or slightly devout, who might like the look of you or might not, who may be heartbroken or madly in love aren't worth your time, you're welcome to do whatever you like with your summer. If you want to slam, however, I'll see you next August.